NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov 13, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode recently joined United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET) President Brian Patterson to announce funding to assist Indian healthcare facilities and medical providers with cost- and time-saving electronic record management systems to improve patient care for 77,000 people who live on Tribal lands in 28 states. The announcement was made at USET's headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.
Patterson said, "USET is fortunate to have USDA as a partner in our efforts to rebuild Indian Country and advance self-determination."
The USDA grant of $68,890 and $25,000 from the organization will be used to transition USET's existing grant-funded program into a self-sustaining business that can meet the continued and growing demand for electronic records management. USET has been providing software and technical support services to more than 160 American Indian health care facilities and 1600 medical providers since the transition to digital records was mandated by Congress in 2009 through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
"We are proud to explore more opportunities that expand our healthy nation-to-nation relationship with USDA," said Patterson. "USET is dedicated to making this and many other projects work to strengthen and empower Tribal Nations and promote their sovereignty."
The HITECH Act seeks to improve American health and patient care by facilitating coordination within and among the states, establishing connectivity to the public health community in case of emergencies, and assuring the workforce is trained and equipped to effectively use electronic health records for the benefit of patients.
USET is a non-profit, inter-tribal organization representing 26 federally recognized Tribes in 12 States including Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas. The organization provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information and serves as an advocate for members to regional and national agencies and governments. The organization's programs focus on health, environmental resource management, mutual aid and education.
"Native Americans have and continue to make great contributions to our nation," said Goode. "I am proud of USDA's many ongoing partnerships with Native Americans to help start and expand businesses, purchase homes, improve healthcare, education and community infrastructure, and preserve their land and culture."
According to Goode, the announcement and roundtable on USDA's partnerships with Native American Tribes and associations are part of USDA's celebration of national Native American Heritage Month and underscore the agency's commitment to Native American families and their communities.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, health, education, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.7 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Middle Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Nashville at 615-783-1359 or toll free (800) 342-3149 ext. 1359, and find more details on all our economic programs at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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